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Should You Take a Higher Paying Job With a Longer Commute?



You’ve been looking for a new gig for ages. Finally, you score a job offer. And it sounds amazing. You’re passionate about the work the company is doing, there are plenty of perks, and you really seemed to jibe with the folks you met during the interview process.

There’s just one downside: the commute. The hours you’ll potentially have to spend in the car driving to and from work have you wondering, “How far should I travel for work?”

The average commute time in the U.S. has been rising steadily over the past few years. The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey, shows that average commute times are now at 26.9 minutes, up from 26.6 minutes the year before. For the nearly 14 million Americans who spend an hour or more traveling to work, a 26-minute commute might be a welcome trade.

You may have already weighed your dream job versus the salary, too. If the job you’re considering also pays more, you might want to review the pros and cons. Weighing these factors could help you determine if the pay increase is worth the extra commute. If it’s time to leave your job and you are willing to put in more drive time for something better, there are a few things you could examine before signing your offer letter.

The Upside of a Higher Paying Job With a Long Commute

If you job search like a top executive, you may find yourself with a job offer worth considering. It can lead to new responsibilities and experiences. Here are some of the pros to consider when deciding whether or not to take a job with a long commute.

Your Paycheck Is Bigger

A bigger paycheck is the most obvious reason you might be considering joining the rush hour commuters every day. Increasing your take-home pay could give you more money to reach your financial goals, like paying down debt, investing, and building your emergency fund. Nearly 36% of Americans report losing sleep over money, according to a survey by Bankrate, so having that extra financial flexibility could help relieve some stress.

The Company Is Pretty Freakin’ Sweet

If the job is truly a dream job and you get paid more, you might be more willing to sit in traffic every day. In a survey conducted by the Conference Board, nearly 51% of respondents reported job satisfaction. If taking this new job will set you firmly in the 51%, it could be worth a longer commute.

Make Your Commute Productive

Commuting can feel like wasted time. One way to make a long commute feel less painful is to make it more
productive . If you drive to and from the office every day, you could use the time to listen to an informative or entertaining podcast or put on an audiobook.

If public transportation is an option, you may be more open to a commute. Instead of fighting the traffic on busy highways, you could catch up on emails, organize your to-do lists, or do a bit of reading.

The Downside of a Long Commute

Expanding your job search strategically due to a lack of local opportunities might help you justify longer commutes, but there are some glaring disadvantages, too.

A Long Commute Could Create Contempt

It’s possible that you take the job but underestimate how much the commute will affect your daily mindset about work. A rough commute in the morning can set the tone for the rest of the day.

There are certain aspects of your commute that are out of your control, like running into unexpected traffic or delays on the subway. The feeling of helplessness in those situations can breed feelings of anxiety .

Multiple studies suggest that commuting can be more stressful than actually working, and that the longer your commute, the less satisfied you may be with your job. A 2017 study from UWE Bristol , suggests that adding 20 minutes to your commute per day has the same negative effect on job satisfaction as receiving a 19% pay cut.

Be honest with yourself about how you think commuting will affect your mental health. If you choose to commute, you may lose out on that time to spend with family, make dinner, or attend a gym class.

Transportation Costs Go Up

A long commute to work means increased transportation costs . Whether you decide to use public transportation or drive your own vehicle, a portion of your paycheck might have to go to higher travel costs.

Take a few minutes to estimate what your new commuting costs will be. Include things like gas, wear and tear on your car, and any tolls that you may have to pay. If you’re going to take public transportation, you could look into the cost of a monthly pass. Will the commuting costs outweigh the pay bump you’ll receive if you accept the job?

Are You Willing to Relocate?

If you’re willing to relocate, there is a chance the long commute may be temporary, which could make it feel more manageable. If you’re not willing to relocate, you may be in a difficult situation if the commute becomes overwhelming just a few months into the job. If you’re not willing to relocate in the future, it may be worth considering alternative employment options.

Accepted the Higher Paying Job, Investing the Extra Income

With your new salary, you may find yourself with more money to save every month. If that’s the case, one option is to put your money to work in an investment account. SoFi Invest can help you steer extra dollars into investments with minimal effort.

When you open an automated investment account with SoFi, you have complimentary access to a team of financial advisors who can help you create your investment goals and build a diversified portfolio. Here’s to you, you go-getter.

Learn more about the options SoFi Invest offers.

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External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .

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